Seth Pollack, M.D., is an Assistant Member in the Clinical Research Division’s Program in Immunology. The Pollack Lab is the only laboratory in the world solely focused on harnessing the power of the immune system to cure sarcoma, a group of cancers that originate in bones and soft tissues. Sarcomas make up approximately 1% of all cancers and there are over 70 different types—some are extremely rare.
As the average survival for patients with advanced sarcoma is only approximately one year, and sarcomas frequently affect children and young adults, many years of life are lost to these cancers, despite their rarity. And, perhaps because of the rarity, advances in sarcoma treatment have trailed far behind other cancers. The Pollack Lab takes a “two-pronged” approach to directing the immune system to fight these diseases: 1) using T cells to specifically target cancer-testis antigens in synovial sarcoma and myxoid/round cell liposarcoma and 2) overcoming immune-inhibitory sarcoma tumor microenvironments.
Dr. Pollack sees sarcoma patients at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). The SCCA is a partnership between the UW, Fred Hutch and Seattle Children’s Hospital); It is the largest tertiary referral center for sarcoma in the Northwest and is consistently one of the highest enrolling sites for the major national sarcoma clinical trials, including trials focused on rare sarcoma subtypes. Dr. Pollack also oversees the UW/FHCRC Sarcoma Tissue Bank. This resource is one of the largest repositories of sarcoma tumor samples in the world, founded by Dr. Ernest “Chappie” Conrad.